A Timeline of The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Movies
The Pirates of The Caribbean may be an entire movie franchise based around an old amusement park ride, but in reality, it is a combination of historical fiction and old sailors' stories come to life. All are brought together by personalities almost too big for the screen - well, mainly one person really demands all that attention - but there are so many fantastic characters and twists and turns that always kept fans of the series excited for what was next.
The Pirates of the Caribbean timeline is a long and rather detailed one, and many events far proceed the eventual pay-offs or plots that are featured during the films. The real-life timeline is an interesting one, as the Pirates of the Caribbean time period and events are relatively accurate in how they include historical characters, with them taking place during the decades when privateering was a common segue into piracy for sailors, such as Blackbeard. The way these films are able to blend historical characters with old tales that most people have heard of like Davy Jones and the Kraken is a masterclass in entertainment and is no wonder it is one of the most successful franchises of all time. Spanning over five movies and various comics and graphic novels, The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise makes many wonder: what year are these movies set? How long is it in-between films? And, especially, how old is Captain Jack Sparrow?
1519: Cortez Conquers The Aztecs And Denies Their OfferingPhoto: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Strange to think that one of the earliest gears setting the future events of the Pirates franchise in motion has little to do with any Caribbean pirates, but rather conquistadors of Europe. Hernan Cortez (in real life and in this work of historical fiction) was a genocidal conqueror who had a knack for slaughtering entire civilizations of people, specifically the Aztecs in modern-day Mexico.
In Pirates of the Caribbean lore, the murder-crazed explorer was offered a chest of 882 gold pieces by the Aztecs as an offering in order to end the pillaging of their communities. This blood money was accepted by Cortez, though he and his men continued the massacring of the indigenous peoples. In turn, the Heathen gods cursed the gold and whoever took possession of it, and eventually, the chest found its way to the Isla de Muerta.
1523: Ponce de Leon Finds The Fountain Of YouthPhoto: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Famed explorer Ponce de Leon sails his famed ship the Santiago to an unnamed island where he finds the Fountain of Youth, though he and his ship are stranded on the shore of the island by an ancient storm. The island would go unvisited for hundreds of years before another sailor would find their way to its magical and mysterious shores.
At some point, the route of Ponce and his crew is recorded in the mythical Mao Kun Map, otherwise known as the Map of the Land of the Dead.
1660: Davy Jones and Sea Goddess Calypso Fall In Love, But She Breaks His HeartPhoto: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
As told by Davy Jones himself in the third film of the series, At World's End, the goddess of the ocean, Calypso, and himself fell in love when he was just a man, and as a result, she gave him the sacred task of ferrying souls who passed away at sea into the afterlife. The task meant he would be the captain of the Flying Dutchman for 10 years ferrying souls, and after his time was up, if his love Calypso was true to him, the two would meet onshore and he would find a new captain for the Dutchman. The only issue was that after his decade-long service when he came to shore, she was nowhere to be found. Nearby, a powerful group of pirates was convening at what would become the first meeting of the Pirates Brethren Court and there, a heartbroken and bitter Jones convinced the group to imprison Calypso in the body of a mortal woman, and by doing so, he took control of the seas.
Shortly after this, Jones would be so grief-struck and guilty for his role in capturing and imprisoning his immortal love that he would carve out his own heart and leave it in a chest on a small island. He then returned to the ocean - no longer as a ferryman of souls, but rather a villainous presence that all sailors feared. He and his crew of the Dutchman slowly lost their human appearances as they transitioned into the killing machines they appear to be in the Pirates film franchise.
1690: Jack Sparrow Is Born Aboard A Pirate Ship In The Middle Of A HurricanePhoto: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Born to the respected pirate Edward Teague, young Captain Jack entered this world onboard a ship in the middle of a typhoon in the Indian Ocean. Can you think of a more fitting way for Jack to be born?
The chaos occurring during his birth really never stopped for Jack in some ways, as it symbolizes his wild personality and the hectic situations he always finds himself in perfectly. An uneasy ride of life lies ahead for this baby born into a life of piracy.
1708: A Young Jack Sparrow Tricks Armando Salazar Into The Devil’s Triangle - Turning He And His Crew Into GhostsPhoto: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
While in a bloody and destructive sea battle with a fleet of pirate ships, Spanish Royal Navy pirate hunter Armando Salazar thinks he has all the swashbucklers beat. Though, as he and his men begin celebrating, the young and moments-ago-captained Jack Sparrow calls out from his ship, the final one standing, taunting Salazar and baiting him until he orders his crew to chase after the inexperienced pirate. Sailing straight toward a cursed area called the Devil’s Triangle, Sparrow seems on a certain course for death as his ship increases speed toward the dark and deadly cave, but this is all part of the clever Jack’s plan. Once Salazar has commanded his ship to follow the pirates, Jack then has his crew make an incredibly sharp and difficult-to-manage turn that they barely pull off, but it is so sudden, there is no way for Salazar to stop his ship to pursue them and his boat goes directly into the caves of the cursed Devil’s Triangle. Here, he and his men all die painful deaths in a series of explosions caused by their crash, but they are resurrected into ghosts through magic that ties them and their spirits to the Triangle. Here, Salazar waits until one day he can see Sparrow again and pay him back for what he did.
Not at all related to the battle between Jack and Captain Salazar - but happening the same year while being plenty significant to the Pirates franchise - is the fact that Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann were also born in 1708. The future captain of the Flying Dutchman, Turner, and his wife Elizabeth, later King of the Pirates Brethren Court, being born the same year Jack first donned the captain's cap is an interesting tidbit that shows how much longer he has been living this sort of life than they have before they began their lives of piracy.
1710: Jack Sparrow Joins The East India Trading CompanyPhoto: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End / Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
After accidentally assisting some rogue pirates that had destroyed Hector Barbossa’s ship to escape imprisonment, Sparrow finds himself in a jam and decides to leave behind the pirate life for one as a sailor for the East India Trading Company.
Going to work for the endlessly ambitious Cutler Beckett at the company, Jack soon gains the respect of his superiors by fending off a pirate raid, and as a result, he is made captain of the Wicked Wench.